Bird hazing with Pyrotechnics


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has used pyrotechnics to haze piscivorous (fish-eating) birds at The Dalles Lock and Dam for over thirty years. The program aims to reduce piscivorous bird predation on juvenile salmonids and lamprey and pinniped predation on adult salmonids, sturgeon, and lamprey by hazing to impede their ability to forage on fish. Map of the pyrotechnic path from boat ramp.

Avian hazing occurs annually from mid-April through the end of July. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (WS) and USACE Fisheries Field Unit employees implement hazing actions. Pyrotechnic operations are conducted in 8-hour shifts between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., seven days a week, from a boat in the dam's downstream waters and, historically on-land from the peninsula as well. See illustration 1.  


USACE is committed to salmon recovery efforts and the protection of aquatic resources. Additionally, USACE is obligated—under current and applicable Biological Opinions under the Endangered Species Act Section 7—to improve river conditions and promote better fish survival past dams for the protection of 13 species of salmon and steelhead, along with other ESA-listed species, under National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ jurisdiction. 

Under the 2020 Columbia River System Biological Opinion (CRS BiOp) and other laws and authorities, USACE, along with other federal Action Agencies (Bonneville Power Administration and the Bureau of Reclamation), carry out a wide range of actions—outlined in the Fish Passage Plan—to help listed fish at all stages of their lifecycle. 

Methods of hazing include:

  • Pyrotechnics—15mms banger and screamer variants, extended range rockets (also 15mm), 12-gauge shell crackers, and 18mm CAPA cartridges
  • Audio deterrents such as the Foxpro game caller, Bird Gard, and Gadfly
  • Tactile motion-activated deterrent (Daddi Long Legs)
  • Effigies (fake bird)
  • Falconry
  • Avian wires
  • Green light deterrent(Agralaser)

Fish Passage Plan

The Fish Passage Plan (FPP) is coordinated with regional Federal, State, and Tribal fish agencies in the Fish Passage Operations & Maintenance coordination team. In addition to predation management actions, the plan includes fish passage improvements, tributary and estuary habitat improvements, hatchery funding. 

To learn more about the Fish Passage Plan (FPP), visit our website: (See Appendix L, Predator Management Plan)